b. 03/08/1899 London. d. 17/11/1984 West Stafford, Dorchester, Dorset.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 28/11/1940 Liverpool.
Newgass was born into a wealthy family in central London on 3 August 1899 and had served in the Territorial Army attached to the Royal Artillery from 1918 to 1934.
He was 40 years old and serving in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve when a bomb fell on the Garston Gas Works, paralysing industry over a a large area. The bomb had fallen through the top of a large gasometer and the parachute had become entangled in the roof. The bomb itself was resting nose down but in an almost upright position on the floor, in 7ft of foul, oily water, and leaning against one of the brick pillars that supported the roof. The bomb's fuse was against the pillar and it had to be turned in order to access it. Lieutenant Newgass tackled the bomb on his own, in one of the most dangerous assignments ever undetaken. He could only breathe using oxygen supplied in cylinders, six of which he used during the operation. On the first cylinder he did his inspection and made his plan. On the second he took down his tools and a ladder. On the third he put sandbags around the nose and lashed the top of the bomb to the iron roof support. On the fourth he turned the bomb, removed the fuse and unit primer and detonator. On the fifth he turned the bomb again and undid the clock keep ring and on the last he withdrew the clock, and the bomb was safe. At the time it was regarded by some as the most hazardous bomb disposal ever carried out.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: LORD ASHCROFT GALLERY, IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, LONDON.
BURIAL PLACE: WEST STAFFORD CREMATORIUM, DORCHESTER, DORSET.
Harold Newgass' medals on display at the Lord Ashcroft Gallery, Imperial War Museum, London